Post Production Showcase: Jungle

We’re pleased to reveal that Jungle is among the six post-production houses that have made the final list for the first ever Audio Media Post Production Showcase – a feature highlighting the varying work across the field of audio post-production for feature films, shorts, TV, and advertising.

Jungle’s pitch comprised ‘PETA – Stop Buying Angora’, a powerful film that exposes how the fur industry collects angora.

We spoke to Jungle’s Culum Simpson, sound designer of ‘PETA – Stop Buying Angora’.

What was your brief/concept for this?

‘PETA – Stop Buying Angora’ was a piece made to raise awareness of the awful process used to farm angora wool. They wanted to show us what the rabbits who are kept for angora wool must endure every three months. Using a simple bait and switch the campaign tricks the viewer into thinking it’s something it’s not, lulling them into a false sense of security until the real, infinitely more hard-hitting message is revealed. Our brief was to create a sound landscape that maximised the impact of the campaign.

What was the sound design process like?

The sound design process was both difficult and fun. Difficult as sifting through the footage to find the right sounds for the rabbits was not easy on the ears. Fun because I was given free reign to do what I do. The film came in mute so everything had to be synthesised, recorded, or sourced, pretty much a dream job from a creative point of view. It also gave me more control over the direction of the soundtrack.

The spot was beautifully shot by director Olivier Venturini at Great Guns so I wanted to carry on the almost indulgent nature of the direction through sound. I started by using standard foley techniques but as the piece progressed I incorporated sounds that were larger than life – notably my leather jacket made a cameo as skin being pulled and squeezed and I used old powder flash bulb pops to create the sound of people blinking. I also wanted to play with the sounds of the rabbits being dubbed over the shots of the people wincing whilst getting waxed.

Culum Simpson, Jungle

The resultant soundscape was so impactful that the sound design took centre stage. Music was incorporated into the scene, treated as if playing though an old radio, embedding it as part of the sound design and adding to the sense of unease.

Can you run me through the technology set-up?

We run the Fairlight EVO at Jungle. This allows for fast editing of multiple files simultaneously; something that is necessary for this type of work. In order to maximise the impact of the sound I had everything running to four subs – vocals, music, SFX, and the rabbits. In addition I had three auxes running two reverbs and an echo boy.

The sounds of the rabbits were sent pre-fader. This allowed us to take out the dry signal and leave the delayed reverb in order to create an unsettling sound. The original idea was to slowly fade the dry signal up as the crescendo built, pulling it into focus, but we decided to leave it out completely in order to mask the origins of the sounds, creating a sense of confusion before the big reveal.

How long was the production process?

The production process for the sound took between four and six weeks. I had a couple of weeks working on my own to develop the initial concept, then a half-day in the studio with the director Olivier Venturini to get the mix ready for client feedback. Following this I worked with Great Guns executive producer Sheridan Thomas to make changes and tweak the sound.

What special challenges did it present?

Having the stomach to watch the footage! The horrors that these animals are subjected to is hard to digest but finding the right sound was vital. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be buying angora.

How was the response from the public?

The response to the campaign has been fantastic. It has brought an important issue to the fore and has seen a number of retailers ban angora wool. The campaign has also been submitted for a number of awards including: Ciclopes 2014 (Editing and Sound Design), Kinsale Sharks 2014 (Editing), and LIA 2014 (Editing).

Lastly, what are you working on right now?

I’ve been working on a number of projects. I mixed the sound for Pepsi’s visual album ‘Beats of the Beautiful Game’, which was produced by Great Guns and directed by Andy Morahan. I have also worked on sustainable children’s wear brand The Fableists also directed by Olivier Venturini and more recently completed the sound design on the ‘Summer Seized’ promo for BBC Radio 1 featuring Annie Mac which was a blast.